tv Today in Washington CSPAN December 7, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EST
reuel. we have been united in the house in our effort to do that. i think that congressional pressure frankly is building, building quickly in light of recent events. i am looking forward of course to the conference report that we are going to see now from the national authorization act where we are going to have another chance to tighten the noose. and i want to say that the amendment that would shut down most business with key sectors in the iranian economy, with energy and shipbuilding and shipping and ports, this amendment that would shut down businesses that are involved in sectors which fund the proliferation activities of iran, of that regime, is
crucial. in addition, the amendment is going to prohibit business with all designated persons connected to the iranian government. it bans trade and commodities used, it is designed to stop iran from busting sanctions by receiving payment in gold or using oil payments in local currency to buy gold. we have got to stop an effort to water down these sanctions. i say that because i remember the votes in the past, i remember our effort on the central bank. it was only because we got unanimous votes because we got so much sport that we were able to deploy those. let me add there's another portion of the amendments here that targets the regime for their human rights abuses and i think one of the areas where we
have really been short, for those of you who talked to those who have been in the prisons, who have experienced the torture, seen the murder, experience the rapes, those are routine. iranian officials are involved in that activity but also in massive corruption preventing humanitarian assistance, food and medicine from reaching the iranian people, they are the beneficiaries of some of this and this new amendment would authorize the administration to designate these regime officials for human-rights violations. we know the officials in iran are indifferent to the suffering of the iranian officials -- people. we also know that the brutal disregard they show to their own people will only be intensified
if iran is successful in its nuclear weapons program. next week i am going to join my colleagues in the conference committee to make certain that the administration does not watered-down these important measures. and frankly the original measures submitted were even harsher and i would like to see us move in that direction because i have been watching for years but foot-dragging that has gone on in terms of the ability to deploy the types of sanctions that will be successful. i saw the administration's strong resistance to congressionally mandated sanctions. they were far too concerned about getting ahead of other countries. what they should have been doing was reading. they had no interesting crippling the iranian economy.
frankly that is just what we need to do, you look at that messageing, they were wrong then and i suspect their resistance to dropping the hammer will continue. but i suspect all so that we have a renewed understanding, interest in the importance of moving quickly and intensifying this effort because the stakes couldn't be higher. iran is in violation of its international obligations. from the pace of its nuclear development cited by international atomic energy agency to its refusal to open to inspectors, where it is suspected of conducting weapon as asian tests. i have seen the handiwork of the terrorist sponsoring country of
iran. i was there during the war with hezbollah as iranian and syrian made missiles slammed into neighborhoods, slammed into the porch, at one point they even targeted the hospital there. in that hospital i saw 600 civilian victims of these missiles, iranian made and syrian made and that inventory of iranian supplied weapons continues to increase arithmetically as hezbollah expands its delivery capability. those of us who have seen the consequence of that kind of carnage can only contemplate the consequences if it happens that this terrorist sponsoring genocide threatening regime ends up with the world's most
destructive weapons. we know that the president has said not on my watch but we have to see the administration backed with the urgency that this threat demands. we cannot have opposition to the latest sanctions effort. we can't have this has been done before. we need sanctions that are going to turn the iranian people against the regime as fast as they can be turned. iran's leadership must feel that their survival is at grave risk if they continue on the nuclear path. and if they don't see it that way and roland with broad sanctions we have a better chance of bringing about the fundamental type of government change that would better assure a non nuclear iran.
this strategy demands effective communication in farsi. the message in short has to be our issue is not with the iranian people. our issue is with the same regime you take issue with the. we know that there is considerable resistance to the regime with iran. we saw great evidence of that during the green movement. we saw something to build on. unfortunately we are not doing a very good job communicating with the iranian people, especially the young, those really despise their rulers. the big missed communications opportunity of course was the president's shameful silence when brave iranians took to the streets and craved moral support. when others died in the streets of iran at the hands of this
regime our president was silent. but it is every day that we are missing opportunities with our in effect will public diplomacy. the regime is telling its side of the story. the iranians in turn go to great lengths at great personal risk to hear the other side of the story. what are we telling them, young iranians, about their government, about its atrocious human rights record, the debilitating corp. of that regime, or about our respect for persian culture. we are asking why is it that this regime is plowing money into nuclear weapons and giving the type of support they do to the us awed regime with its own people suffer. we need to explain as best as possible that their economic suffering is because of their leader's reckless pursuit of
nuclear weapons. public diplomacy is a critical missi mission. even more so in this digital age. but it is one that gets lost among conditional state to state relations. public diplomacy is an area that i will be bearing down on as the committee chairman as well. our efforts to date on iran haven't been anywhere near effective. some have been harmful. radio and television broadcasts in particular have got to be improved. enough's with for broadcasting decisions, in-house fighting, out right nepotism in broadcasting agencies. those committed to democracy need to work harder and smarter at making allies in that country, 67% of the iranian people want an end to that regime, want a western-style democracy, do not want a theocracy and there's no reason that number should be 87.
this isn't the carrot and stick of traditional diplomacy, certainly not some grand bargain with the regime but it is a focus on the people of iran with a message that they are better than their government and that is the heart of ftd's philosophy. unfortunately, let me make this point. i have seen this in administration after a administration. i have seen this mistake. i saw the bush administration go silent on north korean human rights abuses what it bargained with the regime during the end of that administration. we will likely see an impulse, the same with the obama administration. that means congress will have to push very hard to see human rights and democracy and promotion of those principles in iran is on that agenda, for most on that agenda and with the help of ftd, will do that.
to that very issue, congratulations on your human-rights panel this morning. congratulations on all you do. the intellectual information, the data that you find is essentials. i thank you for that. i think at that point we will take some questions. [applause] >> thank you so much. it is clear to all of us why you have been entrusted with this very important gavel chairing the foreign affairs committee following a leadership of chairman clinton. we are in a tight schedule and 5 like to call up senator kc. i would be remiss if i did not recognize the presence here
today of lieutenant-colonel larry lerlach. he was commander of an amphibious unit in lebanon. in october of 1983 hezbollah terrorists drove two trucks and exploded the american and french marine barracks. he survived it, 241 american women did not. he is here today with us. we thank you so much for your service and honoring us. [applause]
>> welcome again to the foundation for defense of democracy's annual washington forum. my name is kenneth schwartz. i have the pleasure of introducing distinguished public official robert kc, senior senator from the state of pennsylvania. you served since 2007 as chairman of near east and south asia subcommittee, senate foreign relations committee only in the first term. one can scarcely imagine a more challenging time, the past two years in the middle east have seen wars in international borders, collapse of regimes in decades and the rise of political movements that may yet turn hostile in the united states and its allies. new developments, he has led the way on many issues of great concern to ftd. he is founder and co-chair of the bipartisan senate caucus on
weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, in that capacity worked across the partisan divide to highlight serious threats of -- weapons of mass deliberation. he has done as much to run our greatest threat in the middle east and often lead the way on pressure advancing nuclear activities and efforts to destabilize the middle east. in 2009 senator casey ran sanctions authorizing u.s. companies to the best of their pension funds, doing business with iran's energy sector. february of this year he offered a bipartisan resolution passed by unanimous vote of the senate for iran's right to freedom of assembly, speech and due process. day earlier iranians had taken to the street in peaceful
demonstrations against the government or pressed by the siege of militia men. in times of peace and conflict he has traveled to the region to preserve the interests of our allies. in july he led a foundation to the middle east to discuss the ongoing threat posed by iran to review developments in the middle east peace process and traveled to saudi arabia, iraq, israel, lebanon, egypt, he met with u.s. troops in iraq and kuwait and iraq with vice president joe biden and general commander of u.s. troops, during the fighting in gaza. senator kc --casey has said we must prevent hamas, israel has the right to set up a naval blockade, key weapons to hamas
and responsibility to protect its homeland. hamas is a terrorist organization that denies israel's right to exist and indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets in at towns, is a proxy for iran and an impediment to peace in the region and he goes on to say israel's citizens deserve to live without fear. as we move forward we must do all we can to break this unbreakable bond and as he heads to a second term i have no doubt he will do that. join me in welcoming our friend senator robert casey. [applause] >> thanks so much for that introduction. i am honored to be here for so many reasons. to follow the chairman, always an honor. it -- time grateful for that but especially glad to be here today
because i almost wasn't, not in a dramatic way. we were all set to have a meeting and a vote that would involve the debt ceiling. as you know, not much rises quickly in the senate anyway. there was a meeting called for 1:00 and a vote after that or so we thought. that lasted about 18 minutes and then got change so thing goodness we are here. we should probably still do that vote at some point but it won't be today. i want to thank you for this opportunity. and thank you for the kind words and friendship and i want to thank ftd's chairman, executive director marc do we son coming in today and staff are responsible for our visit here
and so helpful to reach out to them and i have to thank my staff for putting in -- who is with us somewhere, who does extraordinary work on my behalf and by extension of the behalf of the people represents, a lot of work, a member of the foreign relations committee, and chairman of the subcommittee in south and central asia. i am grateful. i am also humbles by the opportunity to speak to this audience. 9 come here not just in gratitude but with the full measure of humility because i know the collective wisdom, knowledge and experience of people in this room and especially grateful on days like this i'm not sure i am worthy to talk to you but grateful to share some ideas and hopefully do some follow-up.
we are a little bit tight on time today and preparing to's remarks, yellow sections have been deleted in the interests of time. i am grateful because this is an especially difficult time in our country because we obviously have huge economic and fiscal challenges you are reading about and there's a good degree of worry every day but those challenges are side by side with a whole host of international and foreign policy and security challenges the weekend separate the two. when talking about our fiscal situation there's an obvious connection to our national security. i am cognizant of the connection, but we are speaking only about foreign policy and in particular in a very focused way on syria. i do want to thank those who made this possible and as
chairman of the key subcommittee i value the work that you do, each of you do on a range of policies, whether it is the security of our troops in afghanistan, syria which i will focus on but also the work you do to strengthen our policy as it relates to the regime in iran. your team has brought to the forefront carefully thought out and persuasive research and policy positions that have been an outstanding resource for those of us in congress and i am grateful for that help. i know that the theme of this year's forum is, quote, dictators and dissidents:should the west choose sides? quite topical given the events that have played out most recently whether it is the arabs spring, or nascent democratic openings, i would argue the
central question maybe is one of process. that question being whether the u.s. the west should support the democratic process such that citizens are able to choose their own leaders. even when the process gives rise to political movements they disagree with the u.s. or even oppose our western policies and u.s. policies, moreover in years past, u.s. and western diplomats have often had a soul address to call upon in many countries, usually the doorstep of a dictator. that was the one place they would go to engage with them. i would argue that relations with countries that have duly elected leadership are built on more stable foundation this can be substantial but brutal ties the u.s. maintains with the
hosni mubarak regime in egypt or yemen. nowhere in the region is the struggle against dictatorship more vital than in syria. over the past 20 months it has become abundantly clear that with assad in power there is no possibility, none whatever, for democratic process in syria. for years syria has been one of the most repressive countries in the world according to the state department rights reports, analytical studies by freedom house. political dissidents were routinely in prisons or disappeared and journalists were silenced. human-rights activists operated underground living in constant fear of the dreaded -- mr reuel marc gerecht 23 -- assad was cast by many as a, quote,
reformer but his terrible treatment of his own people should have been a strong indication of what he was really all about. callie government treats its people the true testament to its character. callie government treats its own people in vindication of how it will act on the world stage. we have seen how assad operates in the region and how his ties to iran and hezbollah have strengthened over the years. iran has desperately sought to bolster the regime in damascus, its only true ally in the region. this has meant providing weapons, logistical support and tactical advice to syrian government forces. iran has also used syria as a conduit for support to hizbollah, that terrorist organization has substantially increased its arsenal of rockets and missiles for restocking after the 2006 war with israel. i sought to use my position as
chairman of the subcommittee with a bright spotlight on the destructive terrorist activities as bowlen continues to conduct around the world. after al qaeda, hezbollah has killed more americans than any other terrorist organization. in recent years, it and its iranian backers have been tied to terrorist attacks or planned attacks in turkey, cyprus, india, thailand, the investigation into the july 18th attack in bulgaria that killed five is really tourists, the bulgarian bus driver who was killed as well appears to have the markings of a strike by hezbollah. last year i chaired a foreign relations hearing on the growing threat posed by hezbollah and in
september led a letter of 76 senators. and the european union to designate hezbollah for as a terrorist organization. the response was unacceptable in the sense that it laid out a series of bureaucratic reasons or hurdles that would have to be surmounted to do that. i don't think that should be acceptable to us when it comes to this terrorist organization. in the coming days, r.i. and senator lieberman and senator rich which will make a -- we will introduce a resolution with the same message that was sent to catherine afton. the grading the destructive power of iran and hezbollah is in the national security interests of the united states. assad is the key link between the two of them.
efforts to support moderate forces opposing him within syria should be considered now and considered seriously. i have recently called for a more robust u.s. response to the crisis in syria. i believe a political transition to a government that reflects the will of the syrian people is also the core national security interests of the united states in the region. moreover this change would align with our values supporting the democratic process, the basic rights and freedom that should be enjoyed by all people regardless of religion, ethnicity or gender. over the course of the last 20 months the assad regime has unleashed a barrage of unspeakable terror across the country with the sole aim of remaining in power. just hearing in the last couple days, more urgently about weapons of mass destruction and what that could mean.
more than 40,000 syrians have been killed, cal was have been injured. refugees surged into neighboring turkey, jordan, lebanon and iraq taxing the limits of those countries and creating a regional crisis. assad's escalation of violence has reached the point where fighter jets have been used to kill civilians according to human-rights watch. hard to comprehend that happening in any country but that is what has played out. this regime's shocking capacity for widespread terror will only grow as we see reports that chemical weapons have been prepared for use. international institutions will largely remain on the sidelines, held hostage by the reprehensible policies of the russian and chinese governments.
maybe there is change. we will see what happens. the administration was right to initially work with the united nations but unfortunately due to chinese and russian in transitions these efforts have only served to prolong suffering of the syrian people. we need a new course. ambassador ford, you heard from him already, ambassador ford has led the charge in coordinating humanitarian assistance. let me share a few thoughts on this brave american, ambassador for. his personal courage and commitment, seeing a way forward in syria, are remarkable. that is an understatement. the visiting july of 2011 will attest to american commitment and concern for the syrian people. i was proud to chair his confirmation hearings and served as ambassador and appreciated
his friendship and openness to engaging with congress over the course of this crisis. precisely the kind of diplomat we need in these challenging times and we need more robert fords. ambassador ford and his team have led an important effort to support a more cohesive and moderate opposition political group in syria. this is not been easy. opposition to political organizing is difficult in the best circumstances, not to mention during a war after decades of severe repression by the syrian government. despite these considerable challenges the national coalition of syrian revolutionary and opposition forces was recently established. this group is not perfect, nor should be expected to be. i don't need to tell anyone in this audience that the work of political consensus is hard, especially those of us who work in the conference.
moving forward i expect the administration will continue to communicate, achievable criteria. and the sole legitimate representative of the syrian people. once met, once those criteria are met the u.s. are quick to recognize and support, show support to this group and continue to repeat the central importance of commitment to democratic principles and human rights for syrians of all religions and ethnic backgrounds. time is growing recently short for these moderate elements on the political opposition. you see foreign fighters and jihadists in syria. the space of positively influenced environment is narrowing and may be closing, the establishment of a new opposition group combined with
better understanding the population provides renewed opportunity for a more assertive u.s. policy. let me propose a couple of ideas. we need an effort to better coordinate international support for the moderate syrian opposition. several countries over the past 20 months have provided different degrees of military, political and humanitarian assistance to syrian opposition groups which has led to a common complaint from those in the opposition that the u.s. and international community have applied pressure on the syrian opposition to coalesce and coordinate yet these countries providing assistance to the opposition are sometimes not coordinated among themselves and work at cross purposes. they want us to eat our own advice. lack of international coordination served to
exacerbate tension within the opposition inside the country to empower jihadists elements. u.s. leadership among countries would help to better coordinate these efforts and bolster the position of moderate elements. we must work closely with syria's neighbors who were greatly suffering the spillover effects of the crisis to ensure we are committed to hastening the end of the assad regime. 9 concerned iraq continues to allow iranian flights to use iraqi airspace to transport military supplies for humanitarian aid to the syrian regime. iraq's failure to inspect all flights and turn back any that are carrying illicit cargo violates international sanctions and directly undermines u.s. security interests. the iraqi government must commit to inspecting all iranian aircraft passing through its airspace to ensure that iran is
not able to facilitate assad's brutality and prolong the survival of the regime. the major recipient of u.s. assistance, iraq must continue to under -- must not continue to undercut our key interests in the region. the u.s. should consider initiating security cooperation to include training and intelligence sharing, heavily vetted opposition groups are committed to the democratic process and universally accepted human-rights. i understand organizations like syrian support groups have developed criteria, secure commitments from commanders on the ground to abide by internationally accepted human-rights relative to behavior in the armed conflict. make sure we take the step to insure that happens. and consider measures that could
hamper the ability of the syrian air force to conduct aerial attacks on civilians. nato is finalizing a patriot missile battery which is an important step in the right direction while defensive in nature these batteries are important play of international solidarity to turkey and the syrian people. the administration should examine and assess other ways in which the syrian air force can be deterred or degraded including the use of surface to surface tomahawk missiles to degrade the syrian air force's ability to take off. planes on the ground is what we are talking about. fourth, as part of our support for the opposition, we should be working to identify ways to strengthen moderate elements within the country with direct monetary support. years ago the international community provided oil and energy to towns led by democratic forces opposed to
slobodan milosevic in serbia. this assistance helped bolster the standing of these leaders in the eyes of their constituents and helped them to provide much needed heating services during the cold serbian winter. in syria the humanitarian situation is considerably more dire but so is the need for syria's emerging democrats to delivered their constituents. if we can help them and help the month front in a way that did not exacerbate international opposition, then we should. fifth and finally, as soon as the considerably security situation permits the u.s. should enhance diplomatic engagement to syria by sending emissaries to members of the political opposition in the northern part of the country. this important display of solidarity would greatly enhance u.s. standing among moderate opposition and will include our
ability to undermine what will be considerable challenges in a post assad syria. greater u.s. engage and is essentials to assuring that this conflict ends with the removal of assad and iran and hezbollah are significantly weakened. all of this is clearly within our national security interests. i do not support the use of u.s. forces on the ground in syria i believe the u.s. can and should take more concrete steps to demonstrate support for the transition. we can't predict exactly what a new syrian government will look like, we can encourage moderate actors to take center stage emphasizing the importance of the process of building institutions, electing new leaders, the process of bringing together syrians of different backgrounds to pursue a common
goal of peace and representative government. this is a goal worthy of support and i hope the u.s. will demonstrate our commitment to these core principles in the weeks and months ahead. i know we are short on time and i thank you for your attention. god bless you and thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much for your remarks. they could not be more timely, urgent or compelling. just this week alone, 850 people have been killed by assad and as you mention we face the prospect of chemical weapons being used on the syrian population. thank you so much for your very important work. thank you also to your very able staff, and thank you for spending your afternoon with us. i know you run a tight schedule.
thank you. >> the national journal hosts a discussion today on the economy and the middle-class. the forum examines a poll looking at ways americans want to strengthen the economy. live coverage starts at 8:30 a.m. on c-span2. at 7:00 p.m. eastern, senator mark warner is at the university of virginia for a discussion of his legislation to bring highly skilled workers to the u.s.. you can see it live on c-span. >> chief of staff and the next plan for the invasion of japan without considering the atomic bomb. was estimated at it would cost 700,000 men, 250,000 of our youngsters -- 500,000 of them have been named for life. >> somebody in the middle of this, i have to honor both.
the sacrifice of american service to fighting their way to the pacific and a little girl who died as a result of the atomic bomb. it is unimaginable what that must have been like to be close to that hypos center where the fireballer originated. >> follow clifton truman daniel on his journey to hiroshima on c-span3's american history tv, to discuss meetings of bomb survivors and the inspiration for his trip at 9:00 p.m. eastern. >> retiring senators joe lieberman and john kyl discuss iran's nuclear program, syria's civil war and the israeli-palestinian conflict. senator lieberman chairs the homeland security committee and
senator kyl chairs the terrorism subcommittee. from the foundation for the defense of democracy this is just under an hour. >> thank you so much. i will thank you more formally in a few minutes the we will start with a conversation, this is a wonderful time to pick your brain and talk with you. let me start with you if i may. when you came to congress the united states was engage in a cold war against the fatality rate regime. as you leave the senate the united states is engaged in an asymmetrical war against i would argue totalitarian regimes, movements and ideologies. have you made any progress? >> we have made progress. i was about to quote when in,
two steps forward , two steps forwardlenin , two steps forward, two steps forward and two steps back. it was progress when the berlin wall went down and the soviet union collapsed, remarkable expansion of freedom generally throughout central asia. sadly in russia we haven't -- we have seen a return to not quite the old-style days but bad and the senate adopted the magnificent act 92-4 which is a great statement. [applause] >> i said to one of my colleagues there are days you'll be shocked by this in recent times when i left the senate wondering if i had done anything that would matter during that
day. as part of a large majority, we have done something -- this is history, victory over communism and the soviet union, somehow the respite from conflict with short, there are lessons to be learned. both of these were ideological conflicts at heart. these people missed that and the conflict we're in with islamist extremists, it is a theology whether it is an ideology. the other hopeful thing to say is ultimately, as generally
happens, communism collapsed at the weight of its own repression and evil and i am confident what is true of islam as extremists and terrorism but the other lessons that you have to be clearer in making the ideological counterargument which we did for a long time against the communists and that was critical to the ultimate victory we secured. the other thing is we have to remain strong and unrelenting in our willingness to use our strength to protect our security and values against these ideologies which then and now are quite militarize. we have to have patience and that is a real challenge for us
in a democracy because the cold war didn't end quickly. it took strong leadership to end it. this conflict against extremely unconventional enemy will not end quickly either and in our democracy we are going to have to hopefully without suffering any thing like the attack of 9/11 continue to convince the american people that we have got to stay engaged and key defensess hy and remain on the offense both ideologically and militarily. >> senator kyl, please compare and contrast the cold war to the current conflict any way that you want to. this also appears to me. we talk about communism and probably among ourselves here we will talk about islam is a man jihad is a mess ideologies and there are many people in the
u.s. government not just in one party who will not use those words. we're fighting as they save violent extremists. 5 and extremists almost by definition has no coherent set of beliefs. seems to me, i know you well enough that if you don't understand and delve into the ideology of those who proclaim themselves to be your enemy you cannot understand them, you will have a tough time defeating them. ..
>> we start with the proposition that the enemy here in both cases was an ideology. you cannot, therefore, defeat it t without engaging the ideology. you cannot engage the ideology unless you understand it, unless you're willing to call it by its name. so you start with the proposition, you go all the way back to sun ju. you're unlikely to peat an enemy which has a lot of clever components to its way of fighting. and so point number one is you've got to know the enemy, you've got to be realistic in calling it by its name and then begin to develop the ways of defeating it. senator leishman is exactly right. the cold war took a long time to win, and i sometimes think we won it to some extent by accident. but think of the things that were done that were not by
accident and that could form the basis for at least an analysis of how you win this. point number one joe made is you've got to be strong as a nation militaryically and in -- militarily and whatever other ways are necessary to confront this particular kind of enemy. second point is what are the strengths and weaknesseses of the opponent here, what is the methodology for advancing this islamist movement, and where might its weak points be, and how do you take advantage of those? this requires a different kind of thinking about how to approach this enemy. i don't think we've done that yet. we've for some extent been on defense from day one though we have on occasions employed offensive techniques, and by and large, they're pretty effective. intelligence, we understand, is a critical component of this battle, maybe even more so than the last, but it was important then too. we've had some reorganization of our government, and we've certainly had a couple of wars.
we think of afghanistan right now, and maybe that's the last point of the microcosm, okay? so we're going to leave afghanistan, and what -- is there anybody here who believes in five years afghanistan's going to look very much different than it did say before 9/11 when i was on the khyber pass with the members of the senate and intel committees? is it going to look any different? a lot of blood and treasure spent maybe not to very good effect. you're not going to win the war that way. and the final point, the final final point -- [laughter] is that we, we could because we are an impatient people by nature and because the enemy in this case is extraordinarily
patient -- well, i'm not going to say we could lose it, because at the end of the day we have no choice but to win it, but it'll be a lot longer struggle if we don't appreciate the fact that the time element here is important because we are a democracy, as joe pointed out. and as my colleague, john john mccain likes to point out, the afghani said, well, you've got the watches, but we've got the time, that's just one illustration of how perhaps this is a little different than the cold war, but you've got to takal these -- take all these elements into account and decide the strategy and where that leads you in terms of military expenditures. >> i want to ask one more broad brush question. this conference is entitled dictators and dissidents and asks the question should we be choosing between dictators and dissidents. and with we mean it as a serious -- and we mean it as a serious question. because i think there are a lot of people on the left and on the right who see no value in that,
who don't think we can have an impact that is useful and helpful. and there is a difference, i would submit -- and this is what i want you to address -- between on the one hand exporting democracy, on another hand supporting democrats who share our values rather than leaving them on their own. or simply some other option or some other policy. and this is, i think, very timely right now. and we'll drill into this in a minute because you have today one of our senior fellows is just back from egypt, i just saw him in the hall a few minutes ago. morsi's palace is surrounded by people who do not want to trade one form of despotism for another, do not want to trade autocracy for theocracy. do we help them? do we leave it all alone, or do we help morsi and perhaps empower him to establish a theocratic dictatorship regime of the muslim brotherhood which
we will be told will be the moderate muslim brotherhood? so i've opened up a door, in two or three words, yes or no. [laughter] >> well, let me see. as i look behind me and see we are guests of the foundation for defense of democracy -- [laughter] it's one that i feel deeply which is, obviously, in the choice between dictatorship and disdealts, we've always got to go with the dissidents, because that's who we are. we're a nation founded on a set of principles that have never perfectly but much more often than not and much more than other nations have guided our behavior, and those principles are most eloquently and compellingly in the declaration of independence. we have a mission which is the same reason the founders created
a form of government which was to secure the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. that should always be our guide post in foreign relations. because it's a complicated world and because we're not perfect, we will make compromises on that ideal, but we're always better off internationally when our foreign policy reflects our founding values which are freedom. and it's not only that we feel better about it and it's more consistent with our national ideals, in the long run it usually works out better. so i hope that's the beginning of a general answer to your question. and, you know, at every point -- well, i'll talk briefly about the arab spring. so the arab spring has presented somebody like me and probably a lot of others with -- incidentally, i'll come back to one other point. this is about the parties, the political parties in our country
and how the, how this value of freedom sometimes gets a bad name, you know? i got motivated, like a lot of people in my generation, to public service by president kennedy. and, you know, we were inspired by the words of his inaugural not just don't ask what you can do -- what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, but this is a nation that will bear any burden for the expansion of liberty. or very neo-con -- that's exactly the point i wanted to make. so suddenly you read, i just saw a column where somebody was talking about we've got to get over this neo-con nonsenses of a freedom agenda. well, to me, that was the kennedy agenda, it was the truman agenda, t an american agenda -- it's an american
agenda. maybe i should stop at that and let jon -- [laughter] [applause] >> put you on the spot a little bit with one specific question. if you were at this point telling our ambassador in cairo what to be telling morsi, what would you say? >> i would say that we should be telling morsi, look, there's already a lot of skepticism about you in america because, you know, we've read the muslim brotherhood documents historically, and they're not consistent with our values. but, okay, you won the election, so, um, and it's very important for us to have good relations between egypt and the united states. you're a great nation, you're the center of the arab world, but, you know, we're going to judge you not by your title, but by your actions. and to be more specific, as grateful as we were two weeks ago that you, um, mr. president morsi, helped us end the conflict in gaza, um, if the
next day or two days after you suspend the right of judicial review, etc., etc., we're not going to be able to have normal relations with you. and probably if i was in the white house, i'd say, mr. president morsi, no matter what we in the white house wanted to do, those lunatics on capitol hill -- [laughter] force us not to have normal relations with you. >> it's always good to have lunatics on capitol hill. and no danger that will change. [laughter] >> i see no danger of that with joe's departure and mine. [laughter] i, i'll see if joe agrees with this. so would you put us in the realism branch of the nathan sharansky school of -- >> how can i say no? [laughter] >> we have to be on the side of the dissidents but don't have to be stupid about it. life is full of compromises, marriage is full of compromises,
families, government, and it would be very odd, indeed, if everything were black and white and dealing with situations like all of the complications from the arab spring that set up the tensions between the dissidents and the dictators, as you put it. so we don't have to be cowed by the fact that there are some very difficult questions presented here, and sometimes the compromises are not apparent, they're difficult. so how do you, so how do you make the decisions? well, you have to handle them, you have to try to influence the setting of the stage rather than just always reacting to what is presented to you. and you best do that by having foresight and good intelligence. and always by having a coherent philosophy that maybe not even day in and day out but year in and year out you're going to try to stay on that line as close as you can be, knowing you're going to vary left and right as circumstances require.
we'll not only have a better chance of winning, but be much more credible with everybody in the world if they know where our north star is. sometimes we're going to have to tack. if you're in sailing, you know what this is all about. you'll have to do that sometimes, but always with the end goal in mind. and if people understand that, then they'll be a little bit more forgiving of some of the tacking, and we won't be given criticism for this or that or the other thing. but people have to understand what your ultimate goal is here, and i kidded about it, but i think a realistic school of sharansky is kind of a good way to describe it. >> let me start with you on the next question which is syria, we talked quite a bit about this morning. are we on the right track in terms of influencing the situation in syria? could we have influenced the situation if we had gotten in earlier? >> here's what i'm going to punt
just a little bit. i don't know nearly enough about everything to be able to answer that question really intelligently. and one of my approaches to problem solving is, first of all, i don't twitter. i try to think carefully about what i'm going to say before i say it. frequently comes in handy, you don't have as much to explain later. don't express an opinion unless you really understand the facts on the ground, and i don't well enough to express an opinion. i do think that we might have somewhat better choices had we had a more coherent policy going in, because i don't think it has been very coherent. and as a result, some of the choices we have are far less benign or were at least potentially productive than they otherwise might have been. so i'm going to punt that question just a little bit. >> sure, i have ideas. our colleague, john mccain, has some of the best quick
instincts -- all of his instincts are quick -- [laughter] but he sizes up situations involving national security and foreign matters very, very well. and i subscribe generally to the kinds of approaches that he's advocated throughout this conflict. but beyond that -- [inaudible] >> syria? >> yeah. i peen, to me this is -- i mean, to me this is the classic case of a dictator versus disdealts. and i've been increasingly frustrated, disappointed, angry that the hasn't been much more proactive in support of the dissidents. both because they were on the side of freedom, and increasingly it really became a humanitarian disaster. also i don't know that in my 24
years in the senate, i probably should think about it before i say something that -- but, comparing, but this is a case where there's an awful lot of values and strategic interests of our country coming together as they usually don't in foreign policy. and the obvious strategic interest -- well, two, but the one big one is that, you know, assad is the number one friend of our number one enemy, iran. and his collapse, um, would be probably a significant, a body blow to the regime at the top in tehran as anything we could do. and that would in some ways increase our, i think increase our leverage over iran when it comes to their nuclear program, maybe even as much as sanctions do, because the fall of assad will effect the top of the regime including the irgc. so, you know, the other strategic reason is that i think
that the longer we've waited to get involved, the more natural vengeance comes up because of all the killing that's gone on, the more jihadist fighters have come in. it started out -- i spent a fair amount of time on this, and with john mccain we've gone three times to turkey to meet with the opposition and the free syrian army who came out to meet us. this started out really as a patriotic, anti-dictator movement, and it's still more that than anything else, but it's clear that al-qaeda type or related people have come into it. so the danger here is that, um um -- there's a lot of dangers, but one is that assad retreats essentially to create an alawite province with the chemical and biological weapons, and the rest of the country goes into civil
war. the sunni nationalists, the sunni extremists, the kurds and the arabs fighting, and it actually expands what i think will be in some ways the most consequential threat to stability in the middle east in the next chapter. and it's not going to be the israeli-palestinian conflict which is significant, but it's going to be the sunni-shia conflict in the muslim world. expressed in all the ways it does. is -- so i think we waited too long. i hope we will immediately, the administration will recognize this new coalition opposition that they helped to put together , that we'll give them weapons and that with both the neighbors of syria and our allies in europe -- some of which have now been ahead of us like france, britain -- that we will focus in on this immediate, really potentially disastrous threat that assad will use chemical and biological weapons. >> you said a moment ago that
iran is our most dangerous enemy. >> right. >> if so, how far should we be willing to go to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? >> well, you know, i just echo what everybody has said right up to president obama, that it's unacceptable for us to allow iran to become a nuclear state, that containment is not an acceptable alternative for all the reasons we know. i think that's absolutely right. it changes the whole balance of power in the middle east, it emboldens the terrorists like hamas and hezbollah that are agents of the iranian government. it probably, unless we're strong, leads some of our allies in the arab world to begin to accommodate to iran, and it's a threat to most of the rest of the world, including us. so, you know, the sanctions have been unprecedented, they're having an effect on the iranian economy -- so far not an
observable effect on the iranian regime at all. and so i think we have to make sure that our threat of military action if they don't take down their nuclear weapons program is credible to them. i'm still not sure it is. but they've got to believe that the u.s. will use our immense power to disable their nuclear program if they don't do it themselves. >> senator kyl -- >> may i just interrupt to make one comment directly pertaining to the overall theme here, starting a long time ago, years ago, i think our sanctions regime should not only have been stronger, but it should have been oriented in a slightly different direction. we should have been saying to the people of iran in very clear and firm way our quarrel is not with the iranian regime creating
nuclear weapons alone, it is the iranian regime acting in all ways that it does, including to repress your freedoms. and recognize the fact that the average iranian on the street is probably pretty proud of the capability of generating nuclear weapons, nuclear capability to begin with, and they're probably nationalistic enough to be proud of the weaponry that would be created. so that if sanctions are really going to work by impacting the will of the people and, therefore, the action of the people, people have to believe we're not doing it just in our own self-interest, but we're also doing it and primarily doing it for their self-interest to give them the ability to reassert control over their future, over their country, over their government. if they have a stake in it too, then the fact that they are impacted so negatively in personal ways is much more bearable by them. and it's, i guess this is a
microcosm of a point i'd make in a larger way. we should be, there should be a whole lot more radio-free europe, and all of the other voices of the american ideal telling people what we're for, why we're for it, why we share their aspirations and whatever actions we're taking, hopefully, are kilt with those things -- are consistent with those things. >> that's an important point. >> i think it's a hugely important point. are there any people in the muslim world, so far, who understand what islamist rule is like? >> yeah. >> iranians after 33 years, they know it doesn't work. senator lieberman said our military threat to the iranian regime, not to the people of iran, must be credible. is it credible to you? can you imagine this president, president obama, using military force to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? >> are well, you have to just get into some definitions. you've got a united states attack, you've got an israeli
attack, you have a combination attack, you have ap israeli attack backed by some elements of u.s. force, footnote, or after the fact backed by some elements of u.s. force. i mean, there are all kinds of it rations here. -- iterations here. i think the iranians are probably nervous, but not nervous enough, obviously, so the rather apparent answer is the threat probably isn't credible enough. >> um, gaza is ruled by hamas which has used the territory since the israelis withdrew in 2005 as a basis for terrorism and missile launches. the west bank is more or less ruled by the plo which recently after four years of not negotiating with the us rail ris went to the u.n. and asked for upgraded status. do the israelis have anyone to negotiability a peace process with at this point, and if they
didn't negotiate, and let's suppose that abbas came tomorrow to negotiate these process after four years of refusing to do so without concessions in advance, could he sign a pape or that would be at all -- a paper that would be at all meaningful? would he be able to bring hamas into it which is dedicate today the extermination of israel? is there any way to believe that israel could have a separate peace or have peace for the -- before the rest of the world settles this mess with islamism? >> well, it's possible, but it's very hard at this point to imagine. it would not come easily for all the questions, for all the reasons that your questions embody. i mean, in the first place, um, right now israel faces a palestinian people that are divided between two governments. so making peace with one wouldn't give them the security or the confidence to take the risks that they will have to
take as part of any peace process. i've been -- i was encouraged by one of the stories that was in the news a couple of days ago that, which i was wondering about happening which is that people in gaza are beginning to take a second look at hamas because of how much they suffered in the last conflict because ha a maas was doing -- hamas was doing something that wasn't for the people of gaza. they were firing rockets into israel because iran was asking them to do that. and hopefully, that will lead at some point to more unpopularity or for hamas. what i'm saying is the idea that there really would be elections that were genuine both in the west bank and in gaza, that's a big desire. and it produced a government that had some credibility in all parts of the palestinian
community that could negotiate with the israelis. to imagine a settlement of all the final status questions really takes an optimist beyond my capacity for optimism. and i'm an optimistic perp by nature. [laughter] -- person by nature. so the question is whether they could, you know, could negotiate sort of tentative agreements on some of the issues involved here. this is a case where people in israel really yearn for peace in a two-state, a majority two-state solution. and yet as you know, and i've seen this on recent polling from israel, that most of them have just given up on it in the foreseeable future, because they don't see a partner who's prepared to negotiate. and i don't blame them. >> i don't think abbas is prepared to negotiate, but let's suppose just for the sake of argument that he is and does, and let's suppose on friday he
sits down with netanyahu, shakes hands, comes to a deal by friday dinner. will he survive through sunday breakfast? [laughter] >> under current circumstances, probably his days would be numbered. i'm not talking about his life, but his power. joe analyzed it exactly correctly. first of all, they're totally divided, secondly, they have no leadership capable of making a deal, and part of it is of their own making. you cannot start with the education of little kids teaching them to hate israel and everything that it stands for and hope to have support from the people when you make a deal like that. so there are a lot of conditions for this to work, and it can't happen overnight. so as i said, part of the problem is they've created their own problem for acceptance of any kind of a reasonable deal. >> you expressed some pessimism or realism about what's likely to happen in afghanistan after the departure of substantial numbers of u.s. troops that'll
be back, essentially, to where it was before 9/11. what happens to pakistan after that which is islamist, which is semi-democratic but with the emphasis on the semi and, of course, is nuclear armed? >> this just adds to the conundrum of the entire area and how we deal with it. and i go back to where i started. if you have some first principles that you try to apply in any controversy and recognize that as you apply them, there will be circumstances where some nuance and potential compromise is required, then you approach all of these problems that way. if you have very good intelligence, you can understand better what's going on within the pakistani society and pakistani government. if you have a strong military, you have the ability to control events more than be controlled
by them. if you have strong allies, you have the ability to sway opinion, say, with india just by way of example. and so on and so on and so on. which goes back to joe's point. if you look at all these problems as they exist today, you can easily become very pessimistic to deal with them and make the wrong kinds of dealing with them. islamist ideology, political islam is the moniker that some wise people i think have given to it, and i think that's the best description. you go back to, okay, how do we approach the cold war, what worked, what didn't work, when did it change, why did it change, what did we need to make
it change? now let's apply lessons learned to this conflict, also an ideological conflict. what are the strengths, what are the weaknesseses, what assets are you going to need, what kind of vulnerabilities can we take advantage of? what would we need to do that? you can see some opportunities, but at a minimum you know they involve trying to have strong allies and alicenses, trying to be strong militarily, trying to be credible and consistent philosophically, being clear-eyed about the nature of the conflict and being -- here's something we forgot about -- how can you win a war without ever talking about it to the people that you lead? >> right. >> you know? where's churchill today? i love george bush, but one of the -- in fact, the only big argument i ever had with him is why don't you explain your decisions? there's some good basis for
them. part of leading is bringing them along with you. the explanation's a bit like lincoln's. and president obama, he doesn't want to explain anybody because, first of all, he doesn't really believe in the goals, with all due respect, and as a result he's not about to talk about it. he wants to talk about other things. is it no wonder that the american people are despondent over this, have no will to fight it when all they see is a downside, guys coming back with an arm mown off if they come back -- blown off and if they come back without any explanation whatsoever about why this is important, white withoue president leading the people and explaining why we have to support this and sacrifice. henry kissinger said said something a long time ago. he said part of the reason that europe doesn't help us and doesn't want to get involved in anything is their leaders have lost the capacity to get their
people to follow them in any sacrifice. there's nothing to be for, so why would you ever want to sacrifice? people have to have a reason to be for something. it can be nationalistic, that's not really all that good, but, so part of winning this is to be able to talk about it with principles in mind that motivate the american people to be supportive of good policies. [applause] >> i was going to ask you about pakistan which strikes me as one of our most important allies, but our least reliable ally. you're welcome to pick up on this, because if we don't believe in the value of freedom -- >> right. >> and a lot of our campuses we're negotiating with the islamic cooperation now named to prohibit the defamation of islam which would be, it seems to me, a blatant violation of the first amendment to the constitution. if we don't really believe in
free speech, in the value of freedom, what is there to fight for really? >> yeah, no, i think jon stated it very el wently. i mean, this is the whole question of relativism really and reluctance of some people to judge. but, you know, there are rights and wrongs, and there's better and worse. and if you believe that, you have to say it. that's the responsibility of leaders in a democracy or else the mob will influence foreign policy to a greater degree than any of us would want it to. so i don't really -- i think jon stated it very, very well. >> can i just give you, by the way, one quick example? i told you i was on the khyber pass just before 9/11. we met with musharraf on that intelligence committee trip, and one of the things he pleaded with us to do was to restore military-to-military contacts.
he said my generals are very loyal to me, they all were educated at sand hurst or west point, dealing with the brits and the americans from day one in their military careers, but he said the colonels and below i'm worried about because you cut off all contacts with us because of the pressler amendment -- and i guess that was because they developed a nuclear weapon. i'm not that old, so i don't remember all this. [laughter] there's an example where we we d a goal, we had a principle, we had a policy, and, by golly, if they didn't adhere to it, we were going to punish them. and talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. and that was musharraf's point. and by the way, within about two weeks, we had begun the process of restoring military-to-military contacts with pakistan which is a very good thing. but it just shows you how things are not perfect in this situation. you've got to be careful about the action and reaction and think about the long term. i'm sorry to interrupt.
>> no, not at all. >> i'll just say briefly that our relations with pakistan are probably the most complicated and consequence cial of -- >> it's hard to think of another country that's so complicated because, obviously, they're a nuclear power, they're in a very strategically-important part of the world, and, you know, they've gotten away with really being on both sides or different participants of even their government can being on both sides. i can tell you in many ways over recent years they've given us very substantial counterterrorism assistance. and yet on the other hand, we know the parts of their intelligence community are actually supporting terrorist groups. i can't think of any other nation quite like that, and, of course, we rant and rave, we come to crises, and now we're at a better place. for right now we seem to be in a cooperative, calm period.
i've always felt, i'll just end with this about afghanistan, is how we end this is important. and that's why i think it's so important we're negotiating a longer-term, strategic relationship and that we successfully conclude it, that we do better than we did in iraq. i think iraq would be in a lot better shape if we had 10 or 15,000 american troops there, backup trainers, etc., not leaving the ground open totally to iran to come in and put more pressure on the iraqi government than the iraqi government really wants. so i hope that, one, the drawdown from afghanistan is not precipitous of our troops, because it's clearly not what our military wants. and secondly, that we leave some group of, some deployment of our troops there. and one of the most important reasons to do that is the the message it sends to pakistan.
conventional wisdom, you say it so much, you wonder if it's really true. well, of course some elements in their service support the taliban and other terrorist groups, because they're positioning themselves for the day which they know will come when we again leave. and they see, leave afghanistan, leave the region, and they see, um, iran coming in or to afghanistan but really india. so we have to convince them that by our only -- not by with words, by our decisions, that we're going to stay in there. >> we have to buy -- they have to buy the insurance policy from us, not the other guys. >> you got it. and, you know, beyond pakistan and beyond afghanistan, this whole area -- just look around the neighborhood -- iran, the stans, et, this is a very strategically-significant part of the world and also with growing economic importance. so not just for afghanistan, but really for ourselves it would be
good to have -- we don't use the word bases anymore. it would be good to have some joint operating facilities in afghanistan. [laughter] >> i'm going to ask another question. while they're answering, if you want to ask a question, signal me, and i'll try to come to you. before i -- there are certain things i do want to make sure we get on the table. we have reset our relations with russia, i think that's fair to say. i'm not sure russia has reset its relations with us. is that also fair to say? >> yes. >> the election, my friend. [laughter] pass that on to vladimir. [laughter] >> there's civility. >> yeah. i know. >> so the strange thing about jon kyl and me is that after the election when we're going to be out of office, we're going to be more inflexible. [laughter] >> some might wonder if that could be, but in my case, only
my case. you know, this is a, a great frustration, obviously. you can understand the new president obama with a different point of view than many of us hoping that through his intelligence and personality and different point of view that maybe the russians would be receptive to a new approach which is sort of the anti-bush approach. you can understand why he might think he could succeed at that. and, therefore, try this out. so i'm not criticizing him for trying. you can question whether he should reasonably have come to that conclusion, but nonetheless, he tried it. i hope that he is shrewd enough to appreciate that it has failed, it is not likely to succeed because of a variety of reasons and that you can't keep going down the path chasing after somebody that doesn't want anything to do with you right
now without doing damage to yourself, and you can see a lot of examples where that's occurred. just to cite one example, the very difficult situation that has been created with the czech republic, with poland, with our missile defense system which i would argue is now pretty well shredded, just to mention one example. >> missile defense is nowhere -- i don't know if people know that, missile defense is nowhere where it should be to protect the homeland, and nuclear modernization is going nowhere, right? >> well, nuclear modernization is going backward, which is not good. and, remember, there are two elements, there's the protection of the homeland which people generally associate with what we call the gbi system, the ground-based interceptor. the obama administration has cut way back on the number of those, on the deployment and on the development of the new generation, the generation kill vehicle's about 20 years old. we'd like to put the new
generation kill vehicle on it to be much more robust. no. they've cut the funding for that. the other part of it is the system that can be both -- depending on how it's deployed --en an effective american defense system and protect regional interests such as europe, for example, from a threat from, for example, a country like rapp. iran. the great announcement that the administration made and ballyhooed, i would say, to provide the rationale for cutting way back on the gbi was we're going to have something even better, this new four-stage developed aegis system. now, and, of course, everybody said, wait a minute, the fourth stage of that can be very effective, including, effectively, against an errant russian missile, a missile launched by mistake or perhaps by a rogue commander or -- in any event, the russians are now saying under no circumstances
should you develop that, so not only do they develop to a missile defense system that might potentially be effective against them let alone other cubs, they -- countries, they also have been putting enough pressure on that i wonder if the administration is really going to go forward with what they characterized as the status for gbi. >> ken, you wanted to ask a question right there. >> um, ken olson, westport, connecticut. my favorite senator. [laughter] >> that's why i called on him. >> pretty good. >> i think that a couple lessons have been learned over the last ten years and maybe in the last five years and not the least of which is elections don't mean democracy. and i think i wonder if there are people in this world who just don't want democracy, and is that necessarily a bad thing in particular parts of the world? and how do we, in the u.s., respond to that if that, if what i posture is possible?
>> well, it's great to see you, ken, thanks. so generally speaking, i would say from what i've observed people do want democracy. they may settle in with dictatorship for a while, but ultimately there's a natural human yearning for freedom. and opportunity. economic opportunity. i went in with john mccain to egypt and tunisia within a month after the arab spring uprisings, i was really quite fascinated to talk to the people who led both of those revolutions. and one point that struck me was that they were motivated as much by a feeling of economic outrage as they were by their desire for political freedom. in other words, that they had a feeling that the countries were,
the leadership clique at the top was consuming most of the wealth of the country, and here they were as somebody within a program a while ago said these were the middle class poor; educated, on the internet, knowing all the opportunities out in the world and yet couldn't find a job in egypt or tunisia. and so, i don't know, i'd say that maybe people develop a sort of comfort for a while with dictatorship, but ultimately it doesn't work. and that -- and we know that from our own, from our own history. and from, again, from our founding ideals. so i think we're always at peril when we accommodate ourselves to dictatorships. clearly we have over our history, and we continue to in some cases. but it's not a good bet in the long run. >> we could go on for a very
long time, and i would like to, but we don't have the time, and there's something else i want to do while they're here, and that is to present an award. senator lieberman, senator kyl, again, i want to thank you both very much for honoring us with your presence and talking so candidly with us. i do now have the privilege of presenting each of you with an award named for one of our country's finest diplomats. ambassador jean j. kirkpatrick was instrumental in establishing the foundation for defense of democracies in the wake of the 2001 attacks, and much of the work today is based on her deep commitment to advancing democratic values and institutions. ambassador kirkpatrick spent her life studying totalitarianism and fighting totalitarianism. she understood early on, also, that the collapse of the soviet union would not mark the end of the struggle between freedom and tyranny. instead, the totalitarian threat and challenge would take new forms and, indeed, it has as
we've discussed today. ambassador kirkpatrick's story, if you don't know it, i'm going to tell it to you briefly, it's a quintessentially american. she was born in rural oklahoma. she was raised by a dollar-a-day roughneck during the great depression. she became by didn'tover brains and hard work which she called an action intellectual, which i think is a great model for fdd and the work we try to do with the help of people like senator lieberman and senator kyl, and she became a maker of history, not just a student of history. ambassador kirkpatrick was the first woman appointed to serve as the permanent representative of the united states to the united nations, and i think she was one of the great u.n. ambassadors. she served as a member of ronald reagan's cabinet. for this and her career and service, ambassador kirkpatrick was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, and we at fdd are honored to have worked with her, to have learned from her, and we continue to honor her legacy and example. to that end, it is particularly
gratifying for me to present the fist award name -- first award named in her memory and her honor to senators lieberman and kyl. senator lieberman -- let's give a round of applause or for them. [applause] and also just briefly, senator lieberman, i've had the privilege of knowing you since you were first elected to the u.s. senate, about a quarter century ago. i was a reporter for "the new york times" back then, and i had the great privilege of covering in particular senator lieberman, senator daniel patrick moynihan and senator bill bradley. and i got to tell you, i had a lot of fun. [laughter] that was a great job to have. and over the years you have fought consistently to expand freedom's reach at home and abroad. my staff and i were honored when the aftermath of the september 11th attacks you became a distinguished adviser to this organization and a member of our leadership council. and a great credit to you, also,
is the talented and dedicated staff you have assembled and has worked for you so well over the years. it is a treat and a privilege that we get to work with them. i just need to say that. senator kyl, working with you and your staff, also immensel talented people, smart, dedicated on a range of issues. it's been an honor, but also an education about missile defense. see, you use those acronyms, i know what he means. you have been committed to policies that promote peace through strength, you have steadfastly opposed any efforts to compromise the united states' national defense. your expertise on a range of issues is unmatched in the u.s. senate and will be greatly missed, and you have fought a good fight that must continue to protect the american homeland, to protect america's alliesment you've earned a reputation for strategic thinking on matters of great complexity. senators, in light of your many accomplishments, in defense of national security, in defense of
freedom, i'm 3r0ud to present you the foundation for defense of democracy's inaugural board jean j. kirkpatrick award. you guys are strong, young guys, so pick it up. please join me in congratulating senators kyle and lieberman. [applause] >> you're both welcome to say a couple of words here. and we'll get some pictures too. >> cliff, thanks very much. when i think about it, cliff's movement from "the new york times" to f, the d is a little like my movement from the democratic party to being an independent. [laughter] i am, i'm really honored by this. i'm honored because of my great admiration for the fdd. it's a unique organization here in washington and throughout the country. really i like the phrase of
action intellectual. you produce some really thoughtful work that informs policy, and you've also been very effective advocates. secondly, i'm really honored to receive this award in the name of jeane kirkpatrick, another independent democrat. she might have been so independent she became a republican, i don't know. [laughter] she was an i inspiration both to read her stuff and watch at the u.n. a real honor to accept this award with my colleague and really dear friend jon kyl who is, you know, the model of what a public servant should be. he works very hard. he was gifted with some brains to start out with, but he really uses them. and his thoughtful and in this extremely almost reflectsively combative political climate, he happens to be a gentleman, and that matters. it's been my honor really to work with him on many issues of
common interest over the years. i look forward to continuing it in the what one of our senate colleagues calls the after life. [laughter] but for today i'll just say that i am, therefore, tripoli honored to receive in this award from the fdd in the name of jeane kirkpatrick with jon kyl. thank you. [applause] >> joe put it right, it is a triple honor, first of all, to be honored by fdd with the great leadership of cliff may. [applause] the jeane kirkpatrick award with my colleague, joe lieberman. i mean, it doesn't get much better than that, and i am just deeply honored. and as joe said, i think we both view this as sort of the end of the first half of the ball game, and pretty soon we're going to start the second half, and you anticipate seen nothing yet -- ain't seen nothing yet, how's
that? [applause] >> i've got to get one picture here. the four of us -- >> i like that ball game metaphor. >> yeah. >> just make sure we get a picture. great, thanks. >> and we are live now at the national press club here in washington d.c. the national journal this morning is hosting a panel on a new opinion poll on the economy and the middle class. it was conducted by allstate national journal heartland monitor. panelists include representatives from business, think tanks and academia, and they'll discuss the poll's results, middle class perspectives on the economy and the fiscal cliff. it's expected to get under way shortly, and we're bringing it to you live here on c-span2.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, all. good morning. i'm john fox sullivan, i'm publisher at large of atlantic media company, we publish the atlantic, national journal, government executive, a new product, quartz, and we want to welcome you to this special event this morning. and i want to welcome our c-span audience which is tuning in.
um, this is the 15th allstate/national journal heartland poll that we're going to be discussing this morning. since april of 2009, allstate and national journal and the atlantic have partnered in surveying the public opinion of a little bit oriented towards the mitt middle class -- middle class, but public at large. this was initiated by our friend ed reilly and ron brownstein of national journal and post the economic crisis, we decided to see what the american public perceptions were as to what was happening in their lives and the economy. and part of the notion over the years is, if you will, to sort of give voice to middle class and american public opinions as to what's happening with our economy and, in particular, their lives.
we have conducted quite literally over 25,000 interviews, 25,000 over the last four years. so there's a positive story here of data which is extraordinary which is available at nationaljournal.com, it's available at allstate and the heart land monitor, and i really recommend it to all of you as a database that gives a pretty good sense of what the public has been thinking and really gives voice, if you will, to the middle class. the survey that we're talking about today that ed reilly's going to present has a slightly different orientation, and that is to say we're doing a little more towards what does the public want to see done as opposed to just what do they think and how do they view things. we're really calling it their to-do list, otherwise known as the let's get on with it and get things done. not limited to just worry about the debt and fiscal cliff and
such. our program today just loosely, i'm welcoming you, obviously, joan walker's going the talk, ed reilly of sgi is going the give the polling results, and then ron brownstein of national journal is going to do our interview, and then we're going to have a panel discussion. so it's going to be a full and absolutely terrific day, i think. please, turn these babies off. and, again, welcome you. let me introduce joan walker. joan is executive vice president of allstate which is one of the country's largest insurance, we're in good hands with allstate, we all grew up with that. joan has been a terrific partner, in the last four years she's responsible for all corporate relations with allstate. prior to joining that company in 2005, she did similar work with monsanto and qwest. she is a consummate marketing and communications strategist which, of course, in this town
of washington is really all about. so, joan, thank you very much, and we want to welcome our friends here. [applause] >> good morning, and thank you so much for that very kind introduction. the atlantic and national journal have been absolutely terrific partners in this important work in our efforts to shed some light on the challenges that the american middle class has been facing during this great recession. and i thank them very much for that. and many thanks as well to ed reilly of fti who will take us through the polling data today and, also, for jeremy ruck, an associate of ed's, who conducted and was the lead researcher on the poll. as john said, with this poll we've interviewed now 25,000 americans. we have a very rich body of
knowledge about specific issues, um, and now coming together with this poll we have america's sense of what our to-do list is as we move into the next administration and the next congress. important findings. when we began this polling, um, in '09, the financial crisis was absolutely still very much underway, not without standing the bailout. the stock market, as all will recall painfully, had dropped from 14,000 in '07 to 6600 in early '09. banks were shedding over a trillion dollars in toxic assets, and homes were shedding equity, unfortunately, at an even greater rate. because allstate's mission is to
help protect families from life's uncertainties and prepare them for prosperous and well-being futures, we felt we couldn't just stand by, um, when the american dream was being downsized for so many in the piddle class. middle class. so our goal has really been over the course of now 15 polls to give, to use these polls to give voice to the concerns of the middle class if particular and to help create a dialogue that leads to constructive change in action. if we can stimulate and advance dialogue by our leadership class and public policymakers, that's really what this is all about. and i think as in the 14 polls that we have done, this one as well won't surprise you in terms of the results. so let me just give a very top
line of what ed will be talking about momentarily. so a majority of americans believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. there's infinitesimal trust in our major institutions, in our political leadership and in our ability to to work together to solve problems. a large majority believes that the middle class, um, becoming middle class and remaining in the middle class is becoming harder. it is more of a challenge, they believe, than it was for their parents' generation, and they believe it will be even a greater challenge for their children's generation. the level of collective pessimism is pretty high, and we've found that consistently. but at the same time, and this is really interesting, our polls consistently reflect this resilience and personal optimism inherent in most americans.
there is this sense of resolute self-determinism which is characteristically american and has been reflected in all of these polls. most tell us that they are living the american dream and fully expect their children to as well. but overwhelmingly, majorities believe in the free market system and that more than anything else it will be their hard work and personal sacrifice that will make them live the american dream and get ahead. they will be the primary drivers of their success or failure and not the institutions that we had in previous generations relied upon. two questions in particular i just wanted to point out to you as we begin this conversation this morning reflect an even deeper degree of personal optimism than we've seen in the previous polls. in one case we asked if the very
serious economic and political challenges now facing america represent a turning point beyond which we will not recover or whether we'll overcome these challenges in the foreseeable future as we have done in the past when we've been deeply tested as a nation. more than two out of three in this poll said, yes, we will meet these challenges. in another question significant majorities told us that today expect the next four years -- that they expect the next four years, that government will deal effectively with their to-do list; creating jobs, socializing social security and improving education, particularly k-12 education which the american public in this poll said is fundamentally important for a competitive nation and for the success of our next generation. they want solutions. they are very hopeful, but they want solutions.
they want, therefore, leaders to compromise. in this poll, as in all of our polls, a majority of both parties said their leaders should compromise with the opposition and get more done even if it means accepting some policies they don't agree with, and that means even some policies around which they decided to vote for the presidential candidate of their, of their choice. so consistent with what everything we've been hearing and reading, they do rank debt and the deficit very highly as a priority for elected officials to get done, to compromise and get to work. but they also made it very clear what they have made clear in every one of our previous 14 polls, and that is they want the debate to be connected to their real life and to things that they need to survive and thrive in this economy. the kitchen table discussion, if you will, is very important to them. so those priorities are very
clear in their minds, and they are, they want good jobs, they want effective schools, they want affordable health care, they like social security, and today want to retire in -- they want to retire in dignity. they don't feel that, um, one has to embrace all of these priorities, but there is a framework here in this poll in the to-do list. there's a road map that the majority of americans believe would give their children a better chance at a better future. so people aren't necessarily hopeful that congress can deliver for them, but they are wishful. they very much want congress, a congress that puts them and their ayen da first -- agenda first. so i'll end with this. one of my favorite philosophers is benjamin franklin. he said: you may delay, but time will not. and personally, i hope congress
make before i start off on this is that we have in each other polls focused in on an issue and try to dig into that a little bit. this one is about the to do list. actually it comes at a time with new administration ready to take over. the president, second term, a new congress, and we think that we wanted to get asked what americans wanted to see the leadership, political leadership as well as business leadership begin to address. you will see these different issues that we focus in on each of these polls and i hope you will find that data something that is helpful to you in understanding where the american people are. the methodology of this poll is the 15th. is conducted between november 25-december 1. we interviewed adult americans over the age of 18 by a landline and cell phone survey sample of about 1000 with plus or minus of 3%. we also in the survey, you will
find this day when you go online, it oversampled 18-29-year-olds. we find this group of younger voters participated very aggressively in the previous election, has interesting attitudes and opinions about the direction of the company. and also african-americans and hispanics for a total sample size of 484, and 195, 325, respectively. we oversampled those groups would look inside of those, or you can look inside those and see some of the findings that we think are interesting. just keep things. there's an uptick in optimism from where we were prior to the election. began just prior to the election were things to pick up a bit. americans are optimistic than they have been years about the direction of the country. this takes us back to about our public opinion was in july 2009.
they continued as joe mentioned, very strong belief that americans will overcome the countrcountry significant challs because the one of these hallmarks our survey but i remember in the gaps of the economic crisis, financial crisis 2009 when people were saying that some of our participants in meetings where we were showing our data were wondering how could they possibly have that optimism. basically this is been actinic that we have found through out people's confidence in themselves, be able to navigate during this difficult times. there are conflicting, let me first, this desire for compromise. both sides, republican, democrat, independent, those who voted for president obama, those who voted for governor romney want to see compromise. what they define as an acceptable compromise is very different of this notion they want to see their leadership working together, something that is a strong point of view that
is held right now, and that creates some opportunities. as we will talk about, create some complicated waters to navigate. in which is the conflicted priorities issue. the single highest priority on the to do list is the budget deficit and the debt. people talk about his being the problem they want to see a dress. they're very concerned about how that creates an economic environment that puts them at risk. but they immediately move, in terms of taking care of the basics of issues, they didn't do things that have much more mean, much more mean to them and focus around jobs, growth, getting more disposable income into that household. so you see on the one level at the abstract level, debt, deficit, fiscal cliff. there's an immediate transition been to the to do list, which is what they would like to see effort. finally, and interestingly with
all of this battering that people have taken during this last few years of difficult economy, we gave voters, we will go through this question in detail, but we gave voters a choice. short term, solutions to fix the problem, our long-term visionary policies that will put us on the right track? interestingly enough at this point people are thinking longer-term. part of that restored optimism is different for different groups, but generally speaking people are looking for longer horizons. just quickly, the mood of the country, you see the track, the red truck, this long track. easy it is still 50% believe the country is on the wrong track but you see substantial improvement sends where we were in the middle, the late fall of 2011. so that's when it really bottomed out. 70% wrong track, that was around the time of the debt ceiling debate. only 33% of democrats said right
direction in the summer 2011. now if you look at it, democrats are at 77%. one of the things, if you move to your left side of the slide, what you will see is while things are improved, they have not moved for those who have identified themselves as republicans. 86% said wrong track. if you look at, this has been constant, if you're look at this cut by racial identity, people, caucasians are more negative and have been throughout the entire series of the poll. 60% said wrong track. the most optimistic are african-americans, followed by hispanics, 58% right track wrong track. if you look at president obama's job approval rating, it follows the same sort of harsh divide. he is now enjoying an approval rating that he is not enjoyed since early in his term, 54%
approve, but you see again if you look at the left side of your screen how this is polarized, with 87% of republicans saying they disapprove. 93% of democrats say they approve. independence in the middle, 48. so you still have this very polarized view of what's going on but there has been a general improvement and that has come largely from independence coming back getting a more even rating to the president. >> we also asked currently the country trust can we as a question of do you approve or disapprove between what we just went through. you see 54-40 to approve, disapprove. we ask that of congress also. do you approve or disapprove the way congress is current handling its job? 72% disapprove. 21% approve. in this current time of this discussion you can see some benefits to the white house. who do you trust more to develop
solutions and meet the country's economic challenges? the president has an advantage of 48-32 over congressional republicans on economic issues. we then went, you know, sort of how d.c. the economy performing over the next year, the coming over the next four years. again, 44% say they expected to improve over the next year. 51% saying they expect to see improvement over the next four years. so while there continues to be some concern about where we are, there also is some optimism. thinking ahead to this time next year, do you expect your personal financial situation will improve or become worse? this is interesting. while they think the country generally economy may improve, there is this concern about how
i am going to do, this long grinding period of either slow growth or recession. people are a little bit concerned about their own personal situation. but again, looking at this by race and by party identification, you will see the most optimistic are african-americans, followed by hispanics. the most pessimistic white respondents. republicans most concerned about their own personal situation. and then on the issue of compromise, this is a somewhat interesting slide i think. we asked should president obama compromise or remained firm in his program? 59% of those who said they voted for president obama want to see compromise. we asked of those identified themselves as voting for governor romney, should the